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slowmutant
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03 Aug 2008, 1:28 pm

Oh no, I didn't mean to imply that you were. In fact I'm grateful that you acknowledged me as part of the discussion. You see, I'm one of the Aspies here on WronghPlanet who doesn't have an encyclopedic knowledge of everything. I must be in the minority. :oops:



dongiovanni
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03 Aug 2008, 1:34 pm

slowmutant wrote:
Oh no, I didn't mean to imply that you were. In fact I'm grateful that you acknowledged me as part of the discussion. You see, I'm one of the Aspies here on WronghPlanet who doesn't have an encyclopedic knowledge of everything. I must be in the minority. :oops:


I don't so much have an Encyclopaedic knowledge so much as a lot of meta-theory and an EVIL HISTORY TEACHER who made sure that we learned about HHHHeverything up to the Civil War (yea for AP Courses). I mostly just have a talent for using lots of big words and covering anything I discuss absolutely exhaustively, which means doing a tuckfon of research if necessary.


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03 Aug 2008, 1:45 pm

Hector wrote:
Libertarianism is also popular on most of the other internet forums I go to, so I doubt it has much if anything to do with AS. I can only guess it's due to the majority demographic I typically see - young people from the United States with upper-to-middle-class backgrounds.

I think the Internet support for libertarianism has more to do with geekiness than with prosperity. Internet support for libertarianism permeates from the sites that are most densely geeky: Slashdot, Digg.com, etc. I think, if you went to a forum about celebrities, no one there would even know what libertarianism is.



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03 Aug 2008, 3:19 pm

dongiovanni wrote:
NeantHumain,
I agree wholeheartedly. Of course, I am a Marxist-Leninist, so the red-baiting will probably start shortly. But it seems to me like a pseudo-intellectual ideal that holds government as evil. Of course, libertarians often have (a) very little understanding of economics, (b) even less understanding of law, and (c) no codified ethical system. I feel like it's a process of wrongly applying a philosophical ideal when it doesn't work out practically. History backs me up: the "socialist" strivings of the New Deal (which weren't socialist, but welfare-capitalist) brought unemployment down 10% in four years while giving the GDP a rise that exceed the rise during Reagan's infamous seven years. Also note that every country that has employed nationalised or socialised medicine has seen a significant increase in the life expectancy. By contrast, Andrew Jackson, champion of the free market, refused to charter a Second National Bank after the statutory end of the First National Bank came and distributed the funds to private banks, which caused one of the worst economic panics in U.S. History, rivalled only by the "Great" Depression of '29 (of course, the Specie Circular didn't help either). Moreover, once one comes to the realisation that morality is simply a measure of maximising happiness (long live J.S. Mill and J.S. Bach, both of whom increase my Hedonae), the axiomatic nature of Libertarianism falls because it is not necessarily true the Libertarianism increases happiness as I have explained above.

Well, most adherents of most doctrines have very little understanding of economics or law or anything else of that nature, however, the issue is not the average holder but rather the above average holder of an idea. As I have mentioned, there are a lot of libertarian influences in economics, such as the Austrian and Chicago schools. In terms of law, there are some libertarians who do work and research in that field as well. Finally, as for the ethical system, libertarianism must be described as having heterogeneous ethical influences which is why there are Friedmanite utilitarians, Nozickians, Objectivists, and natural rights utilitarians.

As for the history involved with the New Deal, your stat doesn't back up anything. For one, the New Deal took place during the Great Depression, and countries that are performing less than their possible performance often can have the most dramatic improvements. Not only that, but an argument can be made that the New Deal, in many ways, actually stifled economic welfare through many attempts to diminish the supply of goods for the sake of promoting prices. Not only that, but Reagan really did not have a good libertarian macroeconomic policy anyway, and technically, it was one that should have stifled growth for he increased the national deficit significantly, so the comparison really is rather meaningless.

I would not consider Andrew Jackson a libertarian hero, some may, however, his actions were simply destabilizing and were assertions of his will against anyone who opposed him. After all, refusing the charter the bank was simply a very rapid change in the monetary structure of the economy.

Finally, I disagree with both your last metaethical statement, and your assertion on libertarianism as it relates to that ethical system. One, in all honesty, "once one comes to the realisation that morality is simply a measure of maximising happiness", is not accepted by all human beings, nor can it be analytically proven, and the very idea "morality" can also be argued to not exist in the first place as the concept does not make a lot of sense. This means that other ethical systems can be asserted, or all of them denied, all based upon the motives of the thinker. Not only that, but as for libertarianism's ability to maximize utility, libertarian philosophies often will emphasize long-term gains in utility as a result of innovation and growth, which they argue will not arise from governmental intervention, and if this is true, then the effects thereof can be difficult to always see, however, these can be shown using theories and comparative views on things. So, even though you may argue that life expectancy increases with national healthcare, libertarians will counter-argue that life-expectancy does not equal utility(as life expectancy can be increased by actions that diminish overall human wellbeing), they will argue that a market based system is more innovative and in the long-run will tend to have some leading qualities(they can in addition argue that non-market systems are essentially free-riding on the market systems as has been accepted by a number of economists who talk about medicine prices), and they may argue that the market systems outperform non-market systems on a number of measures. Really though, if we compare the US's healthcare to any system, we will have to remember that the US is not a market system, nor really a non-market system, but an unhealthy combination of both that does need reform.

Quote:
Awesomelyglorious,
Good explanation. I think you summed up the link between AS and Libertarianism. I think that all of these reasons are a bit silly, but that's because I believe that the problems with conformity and authoritarianism come from our plutocratic system which Libertarianism only serves to exacerbate. There other stuff I addressed above.

Well, right, but people with different views of the world will reject the notions of other view holders.

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Orwell (again),
I'm sorry, but "fairness", "justice", and what not are crocks in my opinion.

Right, but not all people will agree.

Quote:
Tit-for-tat (fairness) is exceedingly sub-optimal and "to each his due" (justice), arbitrary.

I've heard that tit-for-tat is rather optimal of a strategy for promoting welfare, as if one does something, then the return of getting something promotes more doing of the good thing. Really though, all things are deep-down arbitrary.

Quote:
I also watched your video, which cites Lockean values of Life, Liberty, and Property (the infamous "LLP"). The two main problem I have with this is that it does not understand social contract at all and has no real ethical weight. Social Contract is an abridgement of the state of nature. In nature, one's LLP are unprotected. A person has those rights, but they can only guarantee those rights by their own strength. When society comes together under the institution of the state, we abridge rights so that those rights can be guaranteed. To do this requires the state to make judgements in a hierarchical value system as to which rights to protect. For example, one's liberty is protected from those who would abridge it via kidnapping, unlawful restraint, etc. However, liberty is abridged by the state when one's actions impinge upon another's natural rights. To do this requires the state to act as an administrative body, which has economic costs. This necessitates taxation, which is an abridgement of the natural right to property. Such abridgements are necessary on any social scale to keep the system going, but if LLP are axiomatic rights, this creates an inherent contradiction: how can the government abridge natural rights to maintain them? The answer is usually that this is a small infraction to prevent larger infractions. The problem here is that we now see that "natural" rights are not axiomatic, but practical. In doing this, we create a complex value hierarchy to try to be most ethical. This hierarchy is anything but elegant or simple.

Essentially that critique has some validity to it, I have not read Nozick's "Anarchy, State, and Utopia" though, so I do not know his defense of minarchism based upon a more axiomatic LLP. I think the issue of a complex value hierarchy is something anarcho-capitalism emphasizes in it's view on the law, by arguing that current systems create a value-hierarchy that is inefficient to human interests.

Quote:
There is, however, a very reasonable alternative. Rights to LLP serve to maximise happiness, so why not make happiness the value instead of LLP. That's the second problem I have: LLP has not inherent moral weight. I don't believe in entitlement; I believe in utility. So the purpose of government is to maximise pleasure and minimise harm. Thus, abridging rights is justified of greater happiness can be achieved with these rights being abridged than without. I still maintain that autonomy is the "natural" state of things and must be considered "default" (meaning the burden of proof lies with he who wished to intervene), but I think to hold autonomy as an axiomatic value is silly indeed.

We can argue that utilitarianism is the ultimate goal, however, not all people would necessarily agree. Some people may assert a right to be unhappy, miserable, and so on and so forth, and a utilitarian framework would prevent that, especially if we define it so low as "happiness". I mean, you, the original thinker may have a highly stipulated view of happiness, however, this can easily be degraded into a low-utilitarianism where happiness at the cost of societal progress, human dignity, so on and so forth can march forward. If you have read the book "Brave New World", then you understand what I speak of, as the system was designed to make people happy, but it was shown as a dystopia. Not only that, but even within a utilitarian framework, an important thing to retain are restrictions upon what a ruling body can do, otherwise we will have it act too often, create bad precedent, and ultimately undermine it's long-run utilitarian goals due to an emphasis on maximizing short-run utility. A good example of this is with the doctor, his patient, and the number of other patients needing a bunch of different organs. The doctor can maximize utility by removing the organs of that one patient for the others, but in the long-run we end up having relatively healthy people avoid medical services for their own interests and thus decrease utility. This is why rule-utilitarianism is often asserted, because of the fact that limitations can prevent the foolish use of power, and libertarian utilitarianism would probably tend to fall more along the lines of rule-utilitarianism than standard utilitarianism for that reason.



Speckles
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03 Aug 2008, 4:32 pm

Orwell wrote:
@Speckles: Re:Unions. Libertarianism is a very individualistic philosophy, so many libertarians probably don't like the idea of a group like a union, with their insistence on "collective bargaining" and their roots in the Communist Revolutionary movement. Unions tend to stand for collectivism rather than individualism, and unions as they are currently constituted often do not give members the freedom of association that libertarians would promote- eg, there are many places where you must join a particular union in order to be employed there. This goes against libertarian principles such as voluntary association. However, I would have nothing against truly voluntary workers' associations that attempt to intermediate between groups of workers and their employers. However, such an ideal group is very different from the unions in existence today. Also, unions attempt to establish labor market monopoly power, and the downward inflexibility of prices that they caused were part of the reason for the breakdown of the classical model and Say's law. Unions attempt to restrict the freedom of employment of workers who do not desire to belong to that particular union and in general attempt to introduce non-market forces into the labor market.

Basically, unions really don't stand for personal liberty, and neither do government regulations. so there is nothing inconsistent in being for personal liberty and against unions. Now, if one were for legally banning unions, that would contradict libertarian views. But workers must be free to enter into any voluntary association and to not have attempts to get a job interfered with by third parties, and employers have the right to choose who they do or do not want to employ. If workers can have unions, employers can choose not to hire union workers.

Also, one interesting aspect of libertarianism is that a libertarian will tend to want to allow things they do not support. I don't support drug use, or even the consumption of alcohol, but I am for the decriminalization of drugs because my own ideas of what is or is not a good idea don't need to be the rules that everyone must live by. Similarly, I don't think unions are a good idea (they end up hurting workers more than they help, and cause problems for businesses and consumers) but I think people should still be free to form and join unions if they so choose.


@Orwell RE: Unions

Okay, I'm still confused about Libertarians being opposed to unions.

The thing that most puzzles me about your response is your complaint that unions tend to engage in monopolistic behaviour. How is that different then a socialist's complaints that corporations tend to engage in monopolistic behaviour? I mean, companies try to out compete and eliminate their rivals, but apparently the invisible hand of the market is supposed to prevent this from happening. Or that the resource in question is meant to be a natural monopoly and is best controlled by one company, if I recall correctly.

Aren't unions really a form of company? The sell a resource, labour, and dictate what conditions must be present in order to buy the resource. With government regulations, the conditions they push are primarily selfish, like binding contracts, more money, and more time off. But in the past some of the issues were demands to know exactly what toxins they were inhaling at work, or improved safety regulations to decrease deaths. The second aspect of unions has effectively been socialized in the form of government regulations, and just like any other form of socialism it has partially destroyed the union market.

Which circles back to the core question of my previous post, how can you call both government regulation and unions bad ideas? As far as I can tell, it's an either/or kind of thing. There is a market for regulation enforcement, and demand will be filled one way or another, unless people are forcefully prevented from fulfilling the demand. Which goes against everything Libertarianism stands for as I understand it.

I hope that explains my confusion better. Essentially, why is the union free market considered the exception to the free market knows best rule?


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history_of_psychiatry
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03 Aug 2008, 4:36 pm

I have aspergers and I'm libertarian. That doesn't mean I'm an ultra-liberal ultra-leftist however.


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03 Aug 2008, 5:09 pm

Speckles wrote:
The thing that most puzzles me about your response is your complaint that unions tend to engage in monopolistic behaviour. How is that different then a socialist's complaints that corporations tend to engage in monopolistic behaviour? I mean, companies try to out compete and eliminate their rivals, but apparently the invisible hand of the market is supposed to prevent this from happening. Or that the resource in question is meant to be a natural monopoly and is best controlled by one company, if I recall correctly.

Right, well, the difference is that unions can only be monopolistic if they prevent other people from being hired, and thus they have to undermine the corporation's freedom of association. Monopolies however do not undermine any freedom of association at all.

Quote:
Aren't unions really a form of company? The sell a resource, labour, and dictate what conditions must be present in order to buy the resource. With government regulations, the conditions they push are primarily selfish, like binding contracts, more money, and more time off. But in the past some of the issues were demands to know exactly what toxins they were inhaling at work, or improved safety regulations to decrease deaths. The second aspect of unions has effectively been socialized in the form of government regulations, and just like any other form of socialism it has partially destroyed the union market.

Not really, I mean, I doubt that a libertarian would oppose a labor industry that sold labor to corporations for a profit, but unions themselves usually are just rent-seekers which take monopoly control of a labor situation and keep it indefinitely by preventing other hiring options from occurring.

Quote:
Which circles back to the core question of my previous post, how can you call both government regulation and unions bad ideas? As far as I can tell, it's an either/or kind of thing. There is a market for regulation enforcement, and demand will be filled one way or another, unless people are forcefully prevented from fulfilling the demand. Which goes against everything Libertarianism stands for as I understand it.

The issue is that unions are not seen as actions of the free market. I doubt that libertarians really oppose free-unions, however, most unions exist because of regulations and laws allowing them to exist, not because of free association. Henry Hazlitt, a libertarian thinker, has spoken well of unions in at least one of his books, so this is not a hatred of anything union. The hatred comes in with the laws preventing employers from picking their own employees in order to protect union status.
Quote:
I hope that explains my confusion better. Essentially, why is the union free market considered the exception to the free market knows best rule?

Simple answer: unions are not considered a part of the free market by many libertarians. That is all that there is to that.



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03 Aug 2008, 5:51 pm

Libertarianism is the philosophy of choice for "middle class" suckers of the "you can get anywhere if you work hard enough" capitalist mythology and the proponents of amoral egoism and "there is no such thing as society" social atomism. Fortunately I grew up among the poor and downtrodden and thus know how full of sh*t the Libertarians are. The Libertarians are the unwitting patsies of the multinational corporate capitalist elite. The Libertarian opposition to unions is an example of this.


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catspurr
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03 Aug 2008, 7:07 pm

Odin wrote:
Libertarianism is the philosophy of choice for "middle class" suckers of the "you can get anywhere if you work hard enough" capitalist mythology and the proponents of amoral egoism and "there is no such thing as society" social atomism. Fortunately I grew up among the poor and downtrodden and thus know how full of sh*t the Libertarians are. The Libertarians are the unwitting patsies of the multinational corporate capitalist elite. The Libertarian opposition to unions is an example of this.


Has it occured to you that the current system now doesn't actually help the poor? Know how many people are told to go away?

How many charities would form at home when people are forced to open their eyes to the poor communities rather than their false beliefs that welfare really does work and takes care of it all?

Who has been more helpful when it comes to disasters like Hurricane Katrina? People donating or FEMA? The Red Cross or Fema?

People believe this a little too much even when it's been flat out shown that it isn't all that great.

Would you help out a neighbor in need?



dongiovanni
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04 Aug 2008, 4:35 pm

history_of_psychiatry wrote:
I have aspergers and I'm libertarian. That doesn't mean I'm an ultra-liberal ultra-leftist however.


uh....duh.... Libertarianism is a far-right mentality (at least economically speaking).


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skafather84
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04 Aug 2008, 4:43 pm

dongiovanni wrote:
an EVIL HISTORY TEACHER who made sure that we learned about HHHHeverything up to the Civil War (yea for AP Courses).



so, in other words, everything that didn't matter in history.



dongiovanni
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04 Aug 2008, 5:16 pm

catspurr,
The current system doesn't actually help the poor because it doesn't have the means to do so. Americans are generally tax-phobic, so we refuse to give our governments enough funds to be fiscally viable and thus it is not able to render services to the people. It is also blocked by the level of plutocratic hegemony involved in our current system of economics which does too little about lobbyists who will engage in unethical (and sometimes illegal acts) to have their economic interests promoted.

Awesomelyglorious,
First of all, you've demonstrated how little understanding of economics you have. The New Deal and Reagan's Peace Time military build-up poured great amounts of capital into the economy, causing manufacturers to need more workers, causing workers to have more money, causing workers to spend more money, causing industry to need more workers, etc. ad nauseum. The economic downturn occurs when the process of circulation is (for whatever reason) stagnated. The relation between government spending and economic upturn is pretty universally acknowledged as economic truth; as we all learned, while the New Deal helped the depression (and BTW, my statistics do carry value. Granted thing had little place to go but up, but the still could have worsened. See the Weimarer Republiker e.g.), the Second World War is what got us out of it and is what created the economic boom of the '50s because (a) government spending on the military necessitated industry to support it (and employment, blahblahblah) and (b) the destruction of Europe created a new market for industry to build upon. All of this caused more circulation and thus, economic growth.

As far as your meta-ethical statements, I still claim that Simple Utilitarianism (maximise happiness, minimise harm) is the most logical on a social level because it assumes the fewest non-tautological axioms (reality exists, is observable, happiness is a value). By contrast, other ethical systems must assume much more hard-to-swallow axioms (existence of a god, axiomatic rights, etc.). As to whether maximisation of happiness is inherently valuable, I say this: while it has no inherent value in an existential sense (or no knowable value), it is the most logical in a practical sense because it does little more than assimilate the self-interests of society.

Re: Justice and Fairness

The problem with tit-for-tat is its propensity towards irrational exploitation. It can justify what is an unethical act because of an unethical act committed by the other party. So, under tit-for-tat, it is okay to shoplift from a store that harms society because they're just getting what's coming to them. Of course, this is clearly sub-optimal, as most business will make-up the losses from the consumers (inflation) and the workers (lower wages and downsizing).

Re: Social Consensus on Utility

Social consensus does not constitute logical accuracy. Social consensus once held that the earth was flat. Now imposition of utilitarianism without social consensus would clearly be sub-optimal (as it would concentrate too much power to an elite allowing tyranny, which would not yield utility), utilitarianism with social consensus is clearly superior to other systems with social consensus because of its ability to reduce all multiple value issues down to a single value (utility) and take the best action based on that.

Speckles and Odin,
Are you guys Marxists?

More to history_of_psychiatry,
Just a leftist vocabulary lesson: "ultra-leftism" generally refers to those in the far-left (socialists and anarchists) who believe that a violent revolution (i.e. civil war) is necessary to bring about any real change (key figures are Mao TseTung, Stalin when he got pissed off, Mugabe). I suppose there can be ultra-rightism (i.e. civil war instigated by Libertarians and/or fascists), but I really haven't seen it in the U.S. (I'm sure it exists though).


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04 Aug 2008, 5:49 pm

dongiovanni wrote:
Awesomelyglorious,
First of all, you've demonstrated how little understanding of economics you have.

Who wants popcorn? This could be awesome.


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Awesomelyglorious
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04 Aug 2008, 8:37 pm

dongiovanni wrote:
]Awesomelyglorious,
First of all, you've demonstrated how little understanding of economics you have.

Really? Interesting. I am assuming that economics is your field of study, so therefore you are a font of information about what modern economic theories, the history of economic thought, and things like that? I imagine it really must suck being a Marxist studying economics, as most of your professors consider the idea of Marxism to be some old little thing that has died or should have died years ago.
Quote:
The New Deal and Reagan's Peace Time military build-up poured great amounts of capital into the economy, causing manufacturers to need more workers, causing workers to have more money, causing workers to spend more money, causing industry to need more workers, etc. ad nauseum.

Um... no. The New Deal and Reagan's Peace Time military build up, are Keynesian stimuluses. How that works is that the government takes in debt, and uses this debt to buy stuff, which stimulates the economy, as represented in the equation here:

+Y = C + -I + +G where pluses and minuses represent the relative changes in the economy.

As you can see, G goes up because the government is using money to do stuff. However,(I am assuming a relatively closed economy in the example), I goes down, because in order to spend money the government must issue bonds and take on debt, which crowds out actual investing(like stocks, and so on and so forth). It is from I that capital is usually generated, this is not saying that G never generates capital, however, a lot of the effects of G are not to create the most efficient use of capital out there, but rather simply to increase Y. This means, that if you take on government debt, you decrease economic growth, and this is known as "crowding out" and is one of the reasons why Milton Friedman opposed Keynesian stimuli. A wikipedia article on this is found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowding_out_(economics)

I really do not see the actual point you are making though, at least in reference to my own position, The New Deal also created various restrictions on market activity, destroyed actual products, and other measures that would have negative impacts on the economy as well. Depending upon how strong you view the crowding out effect to be(how much of the growth in G is offset by the decline in I), the New Deal can potentially have some questionable elements to how much change in output it is personally responsible for as opposed to how much growth would be from attempts by the economy to get out of the short-run slump by itself(as after all, not all market activity had ended, a lot had declined though). As for Reagan's boost of the economy, well, that one was actually relatively bad, simply because our economic issues weren't worth the large deficit Reagan created, so the crowding out involved with that would have been pretty bad. In all fairness though, it must be stated that crowding out also will impact exports as well as investments so it might not decrease growth as terribly as if it did only crowd out investment.

Quote:
The economic downturn occurs when the process of circulation is (for whatever reason) stagnated.

Well, right, because MV = PY, which is the monetarist equation found in any basic macroeconomics course. So, if M is constant, and Y is decreasing, then there are only 2 possible explanations, that prices are increasing we have an issue of supply(like a supply-shock), or that V is decreasing, and thus the change of hands of money is decreasing for whatever reason.

Quote:
The relation between government spending and economic upturn is pretty universally acknowledged as economic truth;

Umm..... no. I have never heard of such a thing. I have heard of the argument that government spending, by being constant can decrease the overall stability of a nation. I have heard the argument that government spending(or tax cuts, with government spending being more effective) can help an economy that has slowed down get back to it's long-run output. But, I have not heard the argument that government spending is the source of economic growth.
Quote:
as we all learned, while the New Deal helped the depression (and BTW, my statistics do carry value. Granted thing had little place to go but up, but the still could have worsened. See the Weimarer Republiker e.g.), the Second World War is what got us out of it and is what created the economic boom of the '50s because (a) government spending on the military necessitated industry to support it (and employment, blahblahblah) and (b) the destruction of Europe created a new market for industry to build upon. All of this caused more circulation and thus, economic growth.

Government spending on the military is not responsible for creating industry so much as demand. What happens to the industry when we aren't at war? It does nothing, and essentially is a waste. The issue is that wartime spending ups demand because all of the labor needed for a war is reallocated to the war effort. So, it does not create long-term growth but rather short-term stimulus, especially given the fact that there are usually some issues of unemployment after the end of a war because many of the troops and things like that are no longer needed once the war is over. I would argue that the reason why post-war growth was high is (a) we were catching up with lost productive potential due to war and depression, and (b) the destruction of Europe promotes an increase in net exports. Circulation does not equal economic growth though, if you learned that then you obviously are not the expert on economics that you think you are. Let me take you back again to the monetarist equation that is taught in basic macroeconomics classes:

MV = PY, Y is actual production. V is velocity(AKA circulation). Most economists actually assume that V is relatively constant in the short term, with only occasional fluctuations. The issue is that Y is a function of K(capital) and L(labor) both of which grow and according to the Cobbs-Douglas production model Y = A(K^(alpha))(L^(beta)), which means real growth is a matter of capital and labor. However, the issue one might see is that prices are either relatively constant, or growing(inflation) over a period of time. Well, the reason for that is not because velocity is so unstable, but rather because central bankers increase M in order to keep it's change at or above Y's change, so that way P does not decrease resulting in deflation(deflation being bad because it can result in a deflationary spiral).

Quote:
As far as your meta-ethical statements, I still claim that Simple Utilitarianism (maximise happiness, minimise harm) is the most logical on a social level because it assumes the fewest non-tautological axioms (reality exists, is observable, happiness is a value). By contrast, other ethical systems must assume much more hard-to-swallow axioms (existence of a god, axiomatic rights, etc.). As to whether maximisation of happiness is inherently valuable, I say this: while it has no inherent value in an existential sense (or no knowable value), it is the most logical in a practical sense because it does little more than assimilate the self-interests of society.

The issue is that you haven't handled the "Brave New World" objection that other ethical systems can handle, you also have to deal with the "utility monster" which gets enormous pleasure for each resource than other beings do, or the despots who get inordinate pleasure out of controlling the actions of others, and you have to deal with the limits of utilitarianism in determining which happinesses are to be valued including such as babies, fetuses, chimps, dogs, and so on and so forth, finally, you have to deal with the issue of subjective utility(or avoidance of utility) where complex mechanisms will need to exist in order to properly allocate resources to the beings who value it the most and away from those who value it the least or force beings who avoid utility maximization to it, finally, you end up having to deal with the issue of the hedonic treadmill that happiness really does not change over time anyway, and that a year later lotto winners and quadriplegics will be equally happy after their respective events and that having more goods or resources does not actually change things very much. Handling each of these problems will end up adding significantly to the complexity of the system either ethically, or in the practice of it, or simply make the system's consequences seem undesirable. So, no, utilitarianism really does have a lot of issues and cannot be asserted as being as clean and friendly as you and many other utilitarians like it to be.

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The problem with tit-for-tat is its propensity towards irrational exploitation. It can justify what is an unethical act because of an unethical act committed by the other party. So, under tit-for-tat, it is okay to shoplift from a store that harms society because they're just getting what's coming to them. Of course, this is clearly sub-optimal, as most business will make-up the losses from the consumers (inflation) and the workers (lower wages and downsizing).

Wait? What? How is shoplifting an application of tit for tat? Tit for tat is where society cracks down on shoplifters for their actions of shoplifting. It is also described as a HIGHLY effective strategy in game theory, often beating out other strategies that are more complicated than it is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_tat

Also, stores usually don't cause inflation, as... well.... that'd have to be a lot of stores with a lot higher costs to actually cause a significant macroeconomic impact on the price level, and by that time different strategies for protecting store goods would probably start coming into play if it were *that* wide spread. Most of the time, inflation is the result of central bank behavior though, as they will increase M above the amount that Y increases, and sometimes dramatically so.

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Social consensus does not constitute logical accuracy. Social consensus once held that the earth was flat. Now imposition of utilitarianism without social consensus would clearly be sub-optimal (as it would concentrate too much power to an elite allowing tyranny, which would not yield utility), utilitarianism with social consensus is clearly superior to other systems with social consensus because of its ability to reduce all multiple value issues down to a single value (utility) and take the best action based on that.

When did social consensus hold that the Earth was flat? We've known that it was round since the Greeks. I mean, I suppose certain groups have thought it was flat(and it is argued that the Bible supposes a flat earth), but right, this social consensus was long ago enough that it is relatively meaningless. The issue is that not all value issues are issues of utility, and multiple systems have been proposed by various people with different values than pure utility, such as Rawlsianism, libertarianism, forms of moralism, contractarianism, progress-orientation, etc. The reason these people pick these other systems is because utilitarianism does not solve their important problem with it. To dismiss other groups for the sake of utilitarianism is dogmatism.



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04 Aug 2008, 9:21 pm

twoshots wrote:
dongiovanni wrote:
Awesomelyglorious,
First of all, you've demonstrated how little understanding of economics you have.

Who wants popcorn? This could be awesome.

:lol: That seriously did make me laugh. Even better when he spewed such factually inaccurate nonsense immediately afterwards. Right, the Marxist is ragging on a Libertarian for a poor grasp of economics. Something I've never seen before.


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05 Aug 2008, 8:28 am

slowmutant wrote:
It seems to me that Libertarianism has no legally mandated concern for others, which great if you're a douchebag.


It's also great if you're not a fascists goon. I ALREADY HAVE concern for others. Why should the damnable government FORCE it upon me?